‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me.’ (2:187)
Hudhur recited the following verse at the start of today’s Friday sermon: ‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’ (2:187)
The more the world needs to turn to God the further it is going away from Him. People severely lack to make connection with God so that they can be saved from disorders and calamities and improve their future; people whom God created as the most eminent of all creation. Those who appear to have a connection with God also do not seem to understand that outward faith and worship are not sufficient. What is needed is to search for the essence of the spirit which leads to faith. On the other hand, about three quarters of the world population either associates partners with God or rejects His existence altogether. Not only do they reject God’s existence, they also lead the world astray. Among all these is a small section of people who believe in and has faith in God and corroborates the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). These people accept that when the world forgot its Creator or had no insight or perception of His Being, as an expression of His quality of Rabubiyyat, (quality of sustaining) and to take the world out of the state of disorder, God sent the Imam of the age. With the grace of God, this section of people is the Ahmadiyya Jama’at.
However, Hudhur remarked, was it sufficient to be firm on the belief that the Promised one has come and now a few of his followers will work to end the disorder of the world? If we had it, such a thought would put us in the same category as those who claim to have faith and perform worship but their practices are far-removed. If we do not keep an eye on our own condition, if neither we have a living connection with God nor do we inculcate it in our next generation and if we do not make those around us aware of the message of the Promised one, then having found it, we have now lost it. In this way, we have incurred the enmity of the world and have not found God either. After taking the Bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we need to instil the true spirit of Ebaadur Rahman (servants of the Gracious God) in ourselves. The spirit for the application of which, the Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) advent took place. When the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was informed by God about his future Ummah, he became concerned, but God assured him with the following verse: ‘And among others from among them who have not yet joined them, He is Mighty, the Wise’. (62:4) Thus removing his concern by stating that just as God had made ignorant, depraved and idolatrous people into godly people [in early Islam], similarly, in spite of deterioration, through an ardent and true devotee of yours among the latter-ones, people of the Ummah will once again become Ebaadur Rahman and will once again be devout people. After the temporary decline, Wise and Powerful God will decree that the faith of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) will be the only hope to remove the disorders of the world. Thus, now it is the Muhammadan Messiah and his followers who have to play the role in forging a connection with God.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:
‘In His word Rabbilalameen, Allah, the Holy, points out that He is the Creator of everything and from Him has emanated everything that is in the heavens and in the earth. The word alalameen encompasses all that is found in the world, of the groups of the guided as well as the parties of the misguided and the lost. At times, the alam (realm) of misguidance and disbelief and transgression and excess flourishes until the earth becomes full of injustice and tyranny and people abandon the ways of Allah, the Lord of Majesty. They appreciate not the true nature of the relationship subsisting between the Creator and His creatures and do not render that which is due to Him as Provider and Sustainer. The world becomes dark like the blackest night and faith is pulverized under this affliction. Then Allah initiates another alam (realm) and the earth is replaced with another earth and a fresh decree descends from heaven and men are granted perceiving hearts and eloquent tongues to render thanks to Allah for His bounties.
Then they make their selves lowly like frequented paths, before the Lord of Greatness and run to Him in fear and hope, their eyes downcast with modesty and their faces turning wistfully to the Provider of all needs with a resolve in submissiveness that knocks at the very top of the heights. Such people are needed most when the nadir of misguidance has been reached and through degradation of their condition people turn into beasts and animals. It is at this moment that Divine compassion and His eternal favour urge that a person be raised in heaven, who should dispel darkness and demolish that which Satan has built and raised up. Then an Imam (leader) descends from the Rahman (the Gracious One) to fight the armies of Satan and these two forces join battle - only those perceive them who are gifted with insight - until falsehood is fettered and its mirage-like reasoning is obliterated. That Imam dominates the enemy and lends constant support to the rightly guided, raising aloft the banners of guidance, reviving the seasons and gatherings of piety, until people come to realize that he has succeeded in capturing the ringleaders of disbelief, fastening hard their fetters and has rounded up the beasts of falsehood and has placed halters round their necks and has destroyed the structures of innovations, dismantling their domes.’ [Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, pp. 91-92]
Hudhur explained that this revolutionary change came to pass through the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), but it was not a temporary revolution because he was/is the Seal of all the Prophets and his time is going to last till the Day of Judgement. As Hudhur mentioned before, God gave the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) the news that in the latter-days a person would come to continue this revolution. As the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explains:
‘Allah, the Holiest, has indicated in His word Lord of the worlds (Rabbil Aalameen) that He is the Creator of everything and is praised highly in the heavens and in the earth and that His praise is celebrated constantly by His servants who are ever occupied with His remembrance. There is not a thing but celebrates His praise and glorifies Him all the time. When one of His servants discards his own desires, is emptied of his passions, is wholly centered in Allah, His ways and His worship, and knows His Lord Who nurtured him by His favour, he glorifies Him all the time loving Him with all his heart, even with all the particles of his body. Such a one also becomes an alam (a world) one of the aalameen (the worlds). It is thus that Abraham was named Umma (a people) in the Book of the Most Knowledgeable of all the knowledgeable (16.121).
Of the aalameen there was an aalam when the Seal of the Prophets was raised. There was also to be another aalam when Allah was to bring forth the other party of the faithful, in the latter period, as a mercy for the seekers. There is an indication of that in His Word: To Him belongs all praise in the beginning and in the end (28.71). Here Allah has referred to two Ahmads describing them as His two great bounties. The first of them is Ahmad the Mustafa (the chosen), our elect Prophet (on whom be the peace and blessings of Allah) and the other is Ahmad of the latter days, named Messiah and Mahdi by Allah, the Gracious.’ [Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, pp. 93 – 94]
Hudhur further explained that it was owing to the perfect devotion and ardent love of the perfect servant of God, of negating his own wishes and desires and by completely and wholly absorbing himself in the Being of God that God sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in the latter-days. The revolutionary change that Lord of all the worlds has announced to come about through the second Ahmad, has now to be maintained by his followers. These are the people who truly accept him and try and be counted among Ebaadur Rahman and also help others become Ebaadur Rahman. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) undertook the great task of the second phase of Islam and by virtue of his holy company, his companions became Ebaadur Rahman and highly spiritual people. Thus, the prophecy of the latter-one was fulfilled. But the progress and advancement of the Jama’at is to go on till the Day of Judgment. Therefore, mere mention of it all is not enough, we have to understand our responsibilities as well as the significance of continuity of the level that we see in the lives of the companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Today, it is the duty of each Ahmadi to save the world from troubles and to connect it to God and we cannot truly fulfil this obligation until we attain high standards in our worship of God and until we try and be those Ebaad of God who abide by ‘…they should hearken to Me…’ and who are a model of, ‘…and believe in Me…’.
Hudhur said we are fortunate to have experienced yet another Ramadan, during which greater paths to attain spiritual development are opened. Those who will achieve the epitaph of ‘My servants’ in this Ramadan will certainly be fortunate. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, ‘this month is a fine instance for illuminating the heart’. Hudhur remarked what makes Ramadan an excellent month? Explaining, he said that it is because in this month God has combined two forms of worship, i.e. Fasting and Salat. We should enhance our Salat during Ramadan and offer it with such devotion and purity that God may listen to us in accordance to His assertion ‘…I am near…’. Fasting should be with the intent that whatever pure changes it brings in our life will be enduring and for further strengthening our faith. All this is because today our longevity as well as that of the world is in that we become true servants of God and are thus able to show the world the way.
God sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to further the task for which the advent of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) took place. The questions that were put to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) by those who wished to seek God were the same questions that people asked his ardent devotee (on whom be peace) and he told them the ways of reformation and attaining God’s nearness and thus formed a community. Today the world puts the same questions to the community of believers and they can only give the right answers when each one of them develops in his or her spirituality. God listens to our supplication, when we have a correct perception of ‘…I am near…’ Hudhur said today there is disorder all over the world, be it the West or the East, Muslim countries or developed Christian countries. A sense of restlessness has engulfed the world. The recent riots and disturbances in this country [England] have been an eye-opener for people here. They realise it is not just the underdeveloped countries where peace is in danger, it is also in danger here. Hudhur said there is only one remedy for this and that is to make the world servants of God. But how can this be done? Neither we have any worldly power nor can one lead people to God by means of worldly power. The only way to do this is to also seek God’s help through prayer. Wherever one takes the message of peace one should enhance one’s efforts through prayers. Acceptance of prayer as well as Divine help is given to those who strengthen their faith.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has explained to us various ways and means for acceptance of prayers. The first of these is Taqwa. One should always have fear of God and humility in view and be aware that God is ever watching over us, lest we do something which incurs His displeasure. Our physical body and its various parts, our all over morals and our interaction with God’s creation should be in accordance with His commandments. This is real Taqwa. Our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, hands and feet all should do what pleases God. This is possible when one has perfect belief in the Being of God. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that perfect belief in God is essential to acceptance of prayers. Belief that there is a God and all the universes and everything that we have knowledge of, as well as that which we have no knowledge of, is created by God and He is the Master of all powers. He gives life and death and can create a revolution through prayers which infuses new life in the dead. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said ‘God listens to those prayers which He deems better’.
Another requirement of prayer is that it should have tenderness and pathos. One’s heart should have a melting quality and one should weep with the thought that God is one’s last support and is the One Who would listen to prayers; there should be an anxiety that if God’s succour is not forthcoming one would be doomed.
Another condition for acceptance of prayer is humility and it is this trait that takes one near God. In a poetic composition the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expressed what can be broadly translated as:
Deem yourself to be worst of all
For this may take you to the abode where you meet God
Hudhur explained that an arrogant person does not stand a chance of gaining nearness to God. And where there is no nearness and union with God, there cannot be acceptance of prayer. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that a prayer that is filled with humility and anxiety gains acceptance. This too cannot be achieved without the grace of God. Hudhur explained that this means one should also pray to be enabled to make prayers that gain acceptance with God and with such a view point there can be no question of negligence of prayer. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said that prayer is one door that has been opened by God for the good of people. When man enters through this door while weeping, he is given a covering of purity by God and is awed by the greatness of God to such an extent that he becomes remote and distant from bad practices. Hudhur said fortunate are those who purify themselves with weeping and crying and are brought closer to God. However, to attain this station, one has to make an effort and turn to God first. This is the rule of Shariah.
Another requirement for acceptance of prayer is to pay the dues of God and dues of mankind. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, ‘be such that there remains no residual of God’s dues or mankind’s dues for you.’ The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said that God has mercy on one who fears Him in times of peace and wellbeing as if he is faced with trouble and God does not forget one in his or her troubled time who does not forget God in good times. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is important for acceptance of prayers that one brings about pure change in oneself. If one does not avoid ill and breaks God’s boundaries, one’s prayers are not accepted. He said we should inculcate God’s greatness in our hearts and should keep His majesty in view. Hudhur explained that God’s commandments are stated in the Holy Qur’an in their hundreds and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has said that we should make our lives subservient to the commandments of the Qur’an. He said, ‘worship God because the Creator has a right over you to be worshipped’.
Hudhur prayed that may we understand this point during this Ramadan and gain the pleasure of our True Benefactor. Combing Ramadan with acceptance of prayer, adherence to commandments, strengthening of faith and attainment of guidance God has made it evident that He is ready to dispense good and save His creation from trouble and torment. However, people too need to associate with special people and abide by the teaching which God’s special people bring so that many can become Ebaadur Rahman and as a result this world can be a model of Paradise. Listening to the call of the age and accepting it and having compassion for creation of God demands of us to be included in the sincere servants of God, those servants whose prayers gain acceptance with God, who bring about revolutionary changes in themselves and who, out of compassion for humanity try and save it from God’s chastisement. This Ramadan has come to give us training in these very matters as well as to strengthen our faith and burnish it. No worldly means are needed to save the world from disorder; the weapon of prayer is sufficient. Hudhur said along with prayers for ourselves and our next generations, we should also pray for the world to be saved from destruction.
Our God listens to prayers and there is no need for despair. Most certainly, we have not lost hope. Most certainly the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told us regarding the progress of the Jama’at will come to pass and the day will come when the banner of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) will be raised over the world and the majority will be of those servants of God who are guided. Hudhur said he would remind us yet again never to forget to pray that may God include us in those people who are His guided and sincere servants. May God continue to enable us to seek the beneficence of this Ramadan.
Next Hudhur announced two funeral Prayers in absentia.
Subedar Raja Muhammad Mirza Khan sahib passed away in Rabwah on 4 August at the age of 90. He was in the army and had served in WWII. Later, he came to Qadian and served under Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him). He was a devout worshipper, a content person who was eager and keen in Tabligh matters and had a great bond with Khilafat. May God elevate his station.
Ameena Begum sahiba passed away in Rabwah on 7 August. She was one of the earliest residents of Rabwah who had migrated from Qadian. She had a fervent bond with Khilafat, had served Lajna and attained commendations for this. She had a very good relationship with her neighbours and was a Moosia.